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Dolphins React When Called by Their Name: Research

Jul 23, 2013 15:10 IST

dolphinsTeam of researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland found evidence that dolphins call each other by names. Researchers found out that the marine mammals are capable of calling each other by the unique whistle for the purpose of identification.

Dr Vincent Janik, the researcher from the Sea Mammal Research Unit of the University of St Andrews explained that the dolphins live in 3D environment, offshore, in the absence of any landmark. It is important for them to stay together with each other as a group. The dolphins live in such an environment that they need an efficient system in order to stay in touch.

Since a long time, it was suspected that the dolphins make use of the distinct whistles in a similar way like the humans make use of the names. Earlier researches have also found that the calls like these were used frequently and that the dolphins in same group could learn as well as copy unusual sounds.

But this is the first study in which the response of marine animals to being addressed by the name was studied. In order to investigate about it, the researchers recorded a pack of wild bottlenose dolphins and captured the signature sound (name) of each animal. These captured sounds were then played back with the help of underwater speakers. The researchers played signature whistles of animals in the pack. They also played the whistles in the collection and eventually the signature whistles of other animals. It was found that the dolphins only responded to their names by responding to their whistles.

The team of researchers explained that dolphins behaved like humans, which means that they answered when they heard their name. It was this skill that allowed these the dolphins to remain together in the group amidst the underwater habitat.

The researchers explained that it was the first time that an activity or skills like this was observed in the animals. However, certain studied have also found out that a few species of parrot make use of the sounds in order to label others in the group.

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